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Holiday celebration for 10 that's walkable in downtown Napa?

MSK Nov 5, 2012 10:06 AM

I know, I know...not another Napa thread but this one is more specific.

A friendly/work group of 5 couples is planning our holiday yearly celebration in early Dec. The plan is to spend the night in downtown Napa since we all love wine and would like to be able imbibe and then just walk back to our rooms without worrying about getting behind the wheel.

We are from Marin and spend a good amount of time in the region we do know the the more popular names. I was hoping a more local expert could turn us onto something special but more off the beaten path.

Parameters: Atmosphere should be lively, fun and festive. Good food a must. Nice wine list a given (or an encouragement to bring our own). Specific cuisine not crucial. Broad price range limit without being over the top.

We had a reservation at ZuZu but they must have accepted a larger event booking and just canceled. We have a reservation at Bistro Don Giovanni but it's not walkable from the Andaz.. Taxis are our option but I thought I could put it out there for one more shot to find someplace in the spirit of what we are searching for.

  1. CarrieWas218 Nov 5, 2012 12:26 PM

    Bummer about Zuzu - that was going to be my first recommendation...

    I've organized several events for groups in Napa and - sadly - there aren't a lot of places that can accommodate groups very well. Here is the list:

    Angele
    Oenetri (fairly loud)
    Morimoto (loud AND expensive)
    Tarla (meh)
    Carpe Diem (way too inconsistent)
    Bounty Hunter (definitely fun and festive - might not be fancy enough for what you want)
    Celadon (don't even think about it... incredibly dated)
    Cole's (expensive and, well, just a steak-house really)
    Fish Story (very meh)
    Uva Trattoria (a locals' favorite - good, but not exceptional)
    Fagiani's (very expensive and quite the "scene" for 20-somethings)

    7 Replies
    1. re: CarrieWas218
      maria lorraine Nov 5, 2012 02:47 PM

      Carrie,

      What do you think of Grace's Table?

      For the OP, I was thinking Bounty Hunter, Grace's Table, Morimoto's (expensive but worth it, IMO).

      I like Cole's during the holidays -- it's not a favorite overall but the food is flavorful and solid, if a bit traditional. The dining room has large tables -- and the lighting is nice, elegant.

      1. re: maria lorraine
        CarrieWas218 Nov 5, 2012 03:31 PM

        Ooops - forgot Grace's Table! I love 'em and usually recommend them a lot! Without tablecloths or pretentious elegance, it is a place to go for great food that is frequented often by locals.

        OP, are you looking for atmosphere at all? Not sure Grace's Table is necessarily "holiday-ish" but it is very close to your hotel and has great food!

        1. re: maria lorraine
          MSK Nov 6, 2012 07:01 AM

          Thanks for the ideas. I will check them all out.

          I think Bounty Hunter BBQ is not special enough. Japanese just doesn't have right vibe for the occasion.

          I guess atmosphere does matter a bit. We went to Central Market in Petaluma last year. It was the only res we could get. Good food but the place was filled with families and a few "post soccer game" groups. Kinda put a damper on the party feel. Does Grace's Table compare?

          Since its a once a year event, a bit more $$ is OK. Is Fagiani's food worthy of the extra cost or is it only atmosphere?

          1. re: MSK
            CarrieWas218 Nov 6, 2012 08:08 AM

            I haven't been to Fagiani's yet because of the cost and the demographic; I just don't plain feel very comfortable with all the 20-something "beautiful people" and noise that emanates. I'll wait for after crush and the tourist season to try the menu, but I am seriously put off by $30 and $40 entrees - and crudité for $13? No thanks...

            That said, I think Angele might be a great choice for you; they have lovely atmosphere on the water and a recent menu change has been garnering much better reviews than a few years ago.

            Grace's Table doesn't really have post-soccer game crowds, but it doesn't quite have that level of atmosphere I think you are looking for.

            1. re: CarrieWas218
              MSK Nov 6, 2012 09:50 PM

              Both Fagiani's and Angele seem like fabulous options. Thank you.
              FYI, from the beautiful menus options I see online, the entree prices are comparable for the 2 locations. Fagiani's run from $21 - 30 with just 1 offering at $45. Angele range is $22 -33 and 1 entree for $38.
              I think either will be a winner!

              1. re: MSK
                CarrieWas218 Nov 7, 2012 08:11 AM

                Angele will be on the bit more elegant, subdued side while Fagiani's is a "scene" that can get loud. There are three levels and I'm honestly not sure if one level is quieter than another, but Fagiani's has a full bar so there are more folks using it as a watering hole/club vs. restaurant.

                1. re: CarrieWas218
                  MSK Nov 7, 2012 12:05 PM

                  Great advice. Thanks so much!!!!!!

      2. MSK Dec 9, 2012 08:16 PM

        Follow up......
        Went to the Thomas at Fagiani's and had a great time!

        We were a large vivacious group and the service was friendly and efficient.....which is a tall order to do as more bottles were consumed. The staff offered helpful suggestions and stayed attentive the entire evening.

        Every dish from starters to deserts was conceived and executed beautifully! We considered the prices to be in the appropriate range for the experience we were expecting.

        Thanks for recommending a place that made a special night fun!

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